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Shakespeare in lockdown: did he write King Lear in plague quarantine?

theguardian.com – Sunday March 22, 2020

While those of us stuck in self-isolation or working from home watch TikTok videos and refresh liveblogs, a meme has been going around that claims Shakespeare made use of being quarantined during the plague to write King Lear. The Bard supposedly took advantage of the Globe’s lengthy closure to get on top of his writing in-tray – coming up with Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra to boot. If you weren’t panicky enough about how little you’ve achieved recently, this is surely a way to feel worse. Why aren’t you finally dusting off that novel or screenplay you’ve been itching to write? It’s what the Bard would do, surely.

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How to publish a book: The publishing process, explained

goodhousekeeping.com – Saturday March 14, 2020

You've had the killer idea, you've developed your book characters, planned and plotted, and found the motivation to finally write the novel you've always dreamed about.

You may even have found an agent. But when it comes to a publishing a book, how does the industry actually work?

There are so many stages, so many edits and buzzwords - it can feel impossible to navigate. Before my first novel, Five Steps To Happy, came out last year, I felt utterly lost, confused about the role of an editor and full of questions about the publishing process.

If you feel the same, fear not. In this piece I'll explain the publishing industry, rounding up the people who know to answer the most common questions about writing a book.

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How to publish a book: Finding an agent

goodhousekeeping.com – Saturday March 14, 2020

Publishing a book can feel like a minefield. There are so many ways to go about it - from the traditional agent and publisher route, to entering writing competitions to self publishing.

Before my first book, Five Steps To Happy came out last year, I was pretty much clueless as to the process. I took a 3 month novel writing course with Curtis Brown Creative, which offered a valuable insight into how the industry works.

A couple of years (and a lot of rejections) later, I signed with literary agent Richard Pike, at C&W, Curtis Brown's sister agency. My novel was bought by Trapeze, an imprint of Orion - and my dream came true.

Going through the process first-hand, I've gained a lot of useful knowledge. Burning questions about where an agent fits in with publishing a book? Read on!

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Why Woody Allen's publisher was wrong to drop his memoir

theguardian.com – Tuesday March 10, 2020

What a strange, through-the-looking-glass world we live in, when people who consider themselves to be liberals celebrate suppressing others’ words. A little background on the latest chapter in the saga that is Woody Allen and the Farrow family. It’s a lot less fun than Hannah and Her Sisters, although it does feature many of the same cast and crew members.

It was announced last week that Hachette was publishing Allen’s memoir. Reactions were as predictably swift as they were just plain predictable, with public opinion very much against Allen these days. The Farrow family was especially vocal in its condemnation: Ronan Farrow posted a statement to express his “disappointment” that Hachette, which published his book, Catch and Kill, hadn’t told him it was publishing his estranged father’s memoir. He expressed especial frustration that his sister Dylan “has never been contacted to respond to any denial or mischaracterisation of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen”. Farrow describes this now infamous allegation of abuse as “credible”, but it has never actually resulted in any charges. Was Allen ever contacted to respond to Farrow’s statement in his book that his father “penetrated [Dylan] with a finger”? He has been as consistent with his denials as Dylan has been with her accusation.

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A twist in the tales: Ahead of World Book Day, publishers and authors reveal why children still prefer page-turners to pixels

sundaypost.com – Tuesday March 3, 2020

Despite children often being apparently glued to their screens, it seems they really love nothing more than a good read, with sales of kids’ books in the UK climbing 15.5% in a decade.

The industry, worth £290 million in 2010, netted £335m last year.

A decade ago, with the rise of ebooks, there was a fear that children’s books sales would plummet, but Publishing Scotland’s marketing manager, Vikki Reilly, says it has been one of the least affected sectors.

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This Is What 300 Writers Say Made Them Successful

entrepreneur.com – Sunday March 1, 2020

Red Smith, a legendary sportswriter, was once asked if it was hard to write his daily column. “Why no,” he said. “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”

Any person who’s ever tried to string a bunch of words together and make them sound interesting can feel Smith’s pain. Writing is brutal — and writing for a living can feel like you’re Jack Nicholson in The Shining typing the same sentence over and over again.

And we all know how that turned out.

On my podcast, Write About Now, I interview writers of all types — novelists, journalists, screenwriters, showrunners, and business gurus — about how they stopped bleeding, started writing, and landed at the top of their profession. I launched the show two years ago and during that time I’ve done a deep dive into the techniques and tactics of over 300 successful scribes. After a while, I noticed some common themes start to rear their poetic heads. Call them writer hacks, but just not the type that draw blood. Here are six things successful writers do.

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The Myth Of Inspiration As The Source Of Good Writing

studybreaks.com – Saturday February 29, 2020

You have an idea that comes to you in a burst of inspiration. Your mind is filled with the possibilities of where this thought will take you. You sit down with a hot cup of tea at dusk by your 19th century vintage typewriter as it rains outside — not too hard, of course, but just enough to complete the aesthetic. You poise your fingers over the keys, ready to type it out, write 12 or 13 pages of absolute genius, but your fingers stay suspended over the keys, unmoving. Seconds tick by. The ideas have stalled; your mind is buffering. It’s like that scene from “Spongebob” where all you’ve got after hours is a decorated, anticlimactic “The” at the top of the page. So, you call it a night and open up Netflix instead, feeling vaguely disappointed. Your tea has gotten cold.

Why does inspiration fizzle out like this? Why do ideas that seem amazing in the moment go kaput when a writer tries to put them to paper? Where does the mood go, where does the magic go?

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Ways to Describe

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Tuesday February 25, 2020

One important job of the author is to describe what the reader can’t see (smell or taste, etc), and that includes a description of the point of view character even if the novel is in first person; descriptions of other characters from the first person character’s point of view; and descriptions of the setting, both the macro setting (the city, for instance, but maybe the neighborhood and/or the house) and the micro setting (such as the home interior or a room in the house). Not to mention everything else, the dinner, the restaurant, the music, the crowd, the scent in the air, well everything...

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How to write an action scene (by someone who hates having to do them) by A.K. Larkwood

femalefirst.co.uk – Monday February 24, 2020

I’ve never met a writer who likes writing action scenes. I assume this is because we got into writing from a love of staying inside and not doing anything too exciting. Unfortunately, sometimes you do want something exciting to happen to the characters. I write fantasy adventure novels, which have a higher than average rate of duels, chases and explosions. Here’s the method I came up with to deal with them:

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More city, less village

thebookseller.com – Saturday February 22, 2020

Last month at the Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA) a.g.m., I stepped down from AAA Committee after six years, the last two in the role of president. I am proud to have worked for a trade association whose value for its members is unquestionable. I am not referring to our informative or social events, or our advocacy for agents and authors to publishers and in the public sphere, though they are great. Rather, to the fact that —because any cowboy can call themselves a literary agent—membership of the AAA is the only simple way for an agent to convey their seriousness and reliability as a professional. All our agencies commit to abide by our Code of Practice and its associated guidelines, you see. 

 Beyond that joint commitment, and our fiduciary duty to put our clients’ interests first, the AAA is a pretty broad church in many enjoyable ways. But although many AAA members are actively engaged in the project of making our profession more inclusive, we are still an undeniably white, middle-class group, for the most part.

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